Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has ramped up the pressure on opposite number Ian Foster in the buildup to a two-Test series against the All Blacks.
On the back of a historic series loss to Ireland and four defeats in their past five Test matches, Foster faces the arduous task of turning New Zealand’s form around in two successive Tests against the Springboks in South Africa.
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson has backed Foster in the short term, but stopped short of confirming whether he will remain in the job beyond the two Tests in the Republic.
The All Blacks have already done away with assistant coaches John Plumtree and Brad Mooar in the wake of the Ireland series, while Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has knocked on the door by claiming that he wants to win the World Cup with two nations.
At a media conference ahead of the Rugby Championship opener between the two teams in Mbombela on Saturday, Springbok head coach Nienaber said there will always be pressure on high-profile head coaches, especially after a run of bad results.
“If I comment on what is happening in their camp and how he [Foster] feels, then that will be speculation,” Nienaber said. “I don’t know what their deal is or how things operate between him and the CEO.
“As coaches and players, we know that when you represent your country there is always going to be pressure. Especially countries that have a rich rugby tradition like South Africa and New Zealand. There’s always going to be pressure.
“If you are a coach or a player you are two poor games from being dropped, and you are two poor games away from being fired. That is the reality and one lives with that.”
Nienaber said that while there were a few takeaways for the Springboks from the Ireland series, he will not be overhauling his own gameplan to replicate what Andy Farrell’s team did in New Zealand.
“Ireland are a quality side, and they pitch up with intensity. Their execution was quite good in the plan they had,” Nienaber said.
“We are not Ireland, we are not Leinster, and we don’t play like them. But the main thing that we took out of that is whatever plan you decided on for the All Blacks, you will have to bring intensity, and you will have to bring accuracy.”
Photo: Joe Allison/Getty Images